Dzmitry Bukuyazau, head of OneRep since 2015, discusses the company’s growth, plans for the future, what distinguishes OneRep from its competitors, and how online privacy companies can be useful at a time when Internet security is at stake.
Dzmitry, what’s a typical day like for OneRep CEO?
Dzmitry: Like most people, my day starts with coffee! And then news reading. It’s important to stay up to date and react quickly to local and global changes.
After the caffeine kicks in, I prioritize my tasks for the day and discuss them with my team. We try to figure out what’s on the agenda, what tasks should be handled immediately, what can wait, and how to juggle everything efficiently. At the same time, we continually receive suggestions from our users about how to improve our service, which we carefully review and add to our endless to-do lists. Based on these tasks, I choose a particular development direction.
Editor of OneRep Blog
Every morning, I examine different metrics to gain a clear vision on how members use our website. Was everything clear? Did users achieve their desired result? What confused them? What didn’t work? Very often, such deep analysis shows what can be improved on our website or in our service in general.
After that, I move on to my daily administrative tasks; drafting documents, answering emails, monitoring tasks in progress. Sometimes I conduct surveys with users or start marketing campaigns and help OneRep members solve any unique problems they’ve run into while using our service.
Why did you choose to work in the online privacy industry?
Dzmitry: It’s a pleasure to focus on a service that people truly need. We get a lot of positive feedback from OneRep users, and I feel like we’re doing something really important.
It’s clear that, even though the government is trying to somehow monitor the online privacy industry, their efforts don’t necessarily favor American citizens, and there’s no laws requiring data brokers to maintain the privacy of consumer data. The problem is compounded by the existence of unscrupulous companies who do nothing to prevent data sharing, and take no responsibility for making private personal records available to the public. Working in this industry is an interesting challenge for me, and a worthwhile mission.
What makes OneRep invaluable for your customers?
Dzmitry: Many people are concerned when they find information about themselves on the Internet that’s outdated or blatantly false. Our lives change so fast. People search and background check websites often lack the ability to update their bases or keep tabs on their accuracy, which can lead to problems when looking for a new job, meeting new people, or securing a loan. To make matters worse, the vast repository of publicly available data may even endanger your safety. Some OneRep subscribers had to change their address, move to a new city, change their phone numbers, and even their place of employ, just to avoid stalkers and ex-partners. How can you feel safe in your own home knowing anyone can do a simple search and find your address within a few clicks?
OneRep recognizes that public safety and the right to privacy should be accessible to everyone, and with that in mind, we created an impressive list of self-opt-out instructions available to anyone, absolutely free. Just follow the instructions to remove your own personal records from dozens databases and websites, all for free.
It’s undeniable. Our physical lives and online lives have merged into one, and have basically become synonymous. Nowadays, people don’t make first impressions about you on a first date, but by Googling you before the date even happens.
When you first started with OneRep, what were your impressions about the online privacy market?
Dzmitry: 3 years ago, OneRep was just a fledgling idea. We identified the growing demand for online privacy companies and thought it would be great to create a service that could remove names, previous and current addresses, and phone numbers from public access. At the time, there were only a few players in the online privacy market, however, they offered inadequate services at incomprehensible prices. We quickly realized we could do better, had a clear vision about what our product should offer, and most importantly, that it should be affordable.
What’s changed since then? How has OneRep evolved?
Dzmitry: In the beginning, OneRep was just a “what-if” thought in our minds. Now, OneRep is a service used by 3000 members. The first version of OneRep involved manual data removals by actual human beings, three years later, the process is completely automated. We devoted a lot of time to updating and developing the technical side of OneRep, and are pleased that everything has worked out as expected. OneRep helps people protect their online privacy, and those aren’t just empty words. It really works. OneRep went from an idea to implementation, and we’re not stopping there. We have a lot of cool ideas we’re developing for the future.
What made you concentrate on automatic deletion?
Dzmitry: Our proprietary automatic removal tool helps us get the job done faster. It sends dozens of removal requests in seconds, helping users get results within a few days, as opposed to weeks or months, compared to the old days of manual removals. Our automatic removal tool makes it possible for us to provide a high quality service to thousands of people in a fraction of the time.
Remember, the number of people search sites out there keeps steadily increasing, and we can’t ignore the so-called “human factor;” human beings can inadvertently miss websites, or forget to remove something when juggling literally hundreds removal requests received daily. Our automatic removal tool helps minimize mistakes and improve our quality of service. Sometimes, there are instances that still require human intervention, and our support team sends faxes and speaks directly with representatives at people search sites when problems arise.
To make things more complicated, background check and people search websites change their removal policies from time to time. OneRep carefully studies each case and maintains our automated tool to prevent glitches and remedy inadequacies. But even though we have a successful automated removal system in place, it’s important to remember that OneRep is still a team of hard working professionals. Everyday, we face new challenges. But our goal is to make sure our users are never inconvenienced and are completely satisfied with our product.
What are 3 features that distinguish OneRep from its competitors? Is there anything you’re particularly proud of?
Dzmitry: As I’ve mentioned before, OneRep is a totally automated tool, starting with scanning the web, finding where your records are located, and finishing with records removal.
The second feature we’re really proud of, is the number of websites we can remove your records from. Today, we work with 77 sites. In fact, we cover all people search sites presently known. But tomorrow it could be 100, because the data broker industry is growing by leaps and bounds; new people search websites appear all the time. If you look at our competitors, you’ll see the number of websites they cover is comparatively small, and often, the exact number of sites covered isn’t even mentioned.
number of websites OneRep work with
OneRep doesn’t count the websites we used to monitor in the old days, because most of them don’t work anymore, while others were absorbed by larger people search sites we already cover. We don’t feel the need to artificially cheat our numbers like some of our competitors. Instead, we study the online data industry carefully, continually identify new sites, and update our automated tool to integrate them into our service. Sometimes, OneRep users will let us know about new websites they find and ask us to update our automated tool to include them, which we happily accommodate as quickly as possible. If you know about any sites that aren’t already on our list, just email me at email@example.com and let me know.
The third feature we’re proud of, is the cost of our service, which is more affordable than our competitors because our automated removal tool helps us keep costs down.
It sounds like you’ve found a middle ground between price and quality.
Dzmitry: Yes, I believe so. If you find another company that offers removal services for the same price, I would recommend you take a close look at the number of websites they cover.
Can you please offer a few words about your team?
Dzmitry: We’ve been lucky to compile a team of hard working professionals that work every day to make OneRep the best online privacy service possible. I’d like to begin with our technical team; thanks to Mikalai and Andrew, OneRep is now a service with an automated removal system. They are responsible for the technical side of the project. As soon as we started developing the tool, we thought we could handle it faster. What we didn’t take into account, is that all people search websites have completely different opt-out rules. Some sites require users to fill out forms, others need you to send faxes, while some need you to leave your phone number and wait to receive a verification code. But Mikalai and Andrew managed to find the best possible solution for each site, and thanks to them, the service actually works.
OneRep’s support department is an important part of our team. Despite our automated privacy solution, we recognize the value of direct interaction with our users. It’s extremely important to respond quickly to all requests and eliminate shortcomings in our work. Everyday, we receive dozens of calls and emails, and we work hard to process them as quickly as possible. I like to think of our support team as a face of OneRep, and judging by the responses we receive from our users, we can be proud of our support team.
And of course, I can’t fail to mention you, Mary, because you regularly update our free removal instructions. Thanks to your articles, users can learn more about the data broker industry, how everything works, and what you need to do to protect your records. In other words, you tell users about complicated, intricate things in a very simple way. (Mary: Aawwwww, thank you! :))
What about your plans for the future? What are you working on?
Dzmitry: So far, we’ve been developing OneRep and our automated removal tool for 3 years. We worked really hard and did a good job. Now it’s time to focus on the website, make it more user-friendly and more aesthetic. We’ve also gotten requests from users who want to see us offer a family plan, which is a great idea. It’s not enough to just remove records for one family member. Your name might pop up in your spouse’s public records, or perhaps your mother’s, uncle’s, and so on. As it stands, family members have to open separate accounts, and keep track of everyone’s usernames and passwords, and we’re working to fix that.
We love it when our members send us feedback and ideas on what we should improve. We read every single email we get and are glad to listen to any suggestions; please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. OneRep is always open to new ideas.